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|CHAVEZ RETURNS SAYING CANCEROUS CELLS NOT FOUND
SÃO PAULO, Brazil —President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela returned home from Cuba late Saturday after completing a second phase of cancer treatment and said that his doctors in Cuba had not detected any malignant cells in his body.
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President Hugo Chávez returned to Venezuela late Saturday after undergoing a week of chemotherapy treatment in Cuba.
Speaking in Caracas, the capital, on Sunday, Mr. Chávez said he received chemotherapy all week in Cuba and had been subjected to “rigorous examinations.”
“It was tough, but this cadet and soldier’s body could take it,” he said.
In June, doctors in Cuba removed a cancerous tumor the size of a baseball from Mr. Chávez’s pelvic region. After recuperating from that surgery in Cuba and later in Venezuela, Mr. Chávez, 56, went back to Cuba again a week ago for further therapy. He has entrusted his care to the government founded by Fidel Castro, his trusted mentor.
Venezuelan officials have yet to divulge the exact nature of Mr. Chávez’s cancer. The Venezuelan president’s insistence that it has not spread is significant, doctors have said.
Speculation has swirled around Mr. Chávez’s ability to hold together his 12-year-old government without any designated successor. Senior officials in his political movement initially denied news reports that he had cancer, and said his surgery in Havana was for a pelvic abscess, a collection of pus deep inside the abdomen.
Mr. Chávez did not act on an offer from Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, inviting him to receive treatment from the same Brazilian medical team that had treated her cancerous lymphoma and the non-Hodgkins lymphoma of Fernando Lugo, the president of Paraguay. On Sunday, Mr. Chávez expressed satisfaction with his treatment in Cuba so far: “I have returned better than when I left,” he said.
Mr. Chávez said that Mr. Castro himself gave him the news that no malignant cells had been found, either where the tumor had been or elsewhere in his body. “You have nothing,” he quoted Mr. Castro as saying.
Mr. Chávez did not say how much more chemotherapy he would receive.
He was in good spirits on Sunday, the anniversary of the birth of Simón Bolívar, the liberator of Venezuela. He sang and recited some passages from the poem “Canto a Bolívar” by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
He also took note of a report by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, saying that Venezuela had surpassed Saudi Arabia and now had the most proven oil reserves in the world, largely because of huge deposits of heavy crude found in the Orinoco region.
“For the Yankee oligarchy these reserves belong to the multinationals,” he said.